Going QRO - The Setup

Setup with K2, ALS600, SA-2060

As some of my readers must have correctly surmised from my post about the Heathkit SA-2060, I am setting up for QRO, to the tune of about 400W on CW. The amp is an Ameritron ALS-600, which uses some massive FETs to achieve its power. Its power supply sits below it and delivers a nominal 50V and 15A. I don't like to drive equipment to its upper limits, however, so I'll be setting the RTTY/Normal switch to RTTY to drop the PS voltage to about 42V.

So, while many ops in my blog-roll are turning their power down to QRPp levels (VE3WDM awaits his 40dB attenuator), I'm afraid I've gone in the opposite direction for this one station. Though I've done some testing and a dry run and all seems to work fine, I've yet to make a QSO as I was distracted by the on-the-fritz K2 encoder, which I want to use as the exciter for the amp Furthermore, if you've followed my other blog, A Dull Roar, lately you know we've been dealing with a health issue with my wife for the last couple of months.

meter LEDs added to SA-2060I made one mod to the tuner, which was to add some illumination to the meters, which seemed like an odd oversight for Heathkit. Now they have that nice fireside glow. On the rear of the chassis I placed a phono jack to match the 12V auxiliary jack on the back of the ALS-600 to supply the LEDs. 

The amp, tuner, and some other radio goodies were in the big pile of boxes I had shipped down back in April. Unfortunately, the shipper left a few items behind including a PCB, relays, and IC sockets I need to build the AD5X QSK mod for the ALS-600. Meanwhile, I'm using a foot switch, which I had the foresight to order along with the amp. Almost unbelievably, the shipper still hasn't gotten the items in to port, so I re-ordered them via my friend who forwards our mail monthly. The same package will have the U3 and encoder for the K2. I won't wait until those things arrive though to get this equipment on the air for some trial runs. Of course, I'm really asking for it going QRO as it's bound to form bigger pile-ups with more weak signals. Tuning through the pack of callers using the mouse wheel and Flrig is hardly optimal, but we'll see how it goes until I can get the K2 ship-shape again.  73!


  1. Good morning Casey, whether it's QRO,QRP or QRPp for that matter the fact is getting on the radio and making contacts. Oh and the attenuator is in and almost completely assembled. My plan is to put it to use in the IARU contest coming up this weekend. As a side note I was surprised to read about your wife. I had no idea about the surgery until I followed the link to your other blog. Our prayers are with you and Tamara.

  2. Hi Mike,

    Yes, Tamara asked that I not write about her health problem until the surgery was over, which is why it came as a surprise to many. Thanks for the prayers! Today we should get the biopsy results, which hopefully will bring this episode to a close.


  3. Hi Casey, pretty impressive all that stuff. I think QRO is the only method to be heard at the moment. Conditions are very poor. Yesterday I could make 1 qso with 75 watts. I realized that I work or hear seldom a station from Central America. I don't know why. For instance never worked a station from Mexico, a big country. Very strange. 73 Paul

  4. Paul,

    Yes, to be heard, but it doesn't help my ears, hi. Might be good for busting pile-ups, though.


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  6. Anonymous22/1/13 12:46

    I have one of these wonderful tuners. How did you go about wiring your lamps?


    philip KA4KOE

    1. Hi Philip,

      I used some orange color leds, which I hot-glued to the top of the meter cases. They are wired in parallel and the voltage stepped down with a resistor on each (1.2K, I think). The wire then goes to the back of the case where I drilled a hole to mount an RCA jack. Then I just used a regular audio cable from the auxiliary power jack on the ALS-600 to the tuner.




Thanks very much for your comment! 73, Casey